Transit is an important issue in our city, and we at Transitcamp think voters should know how our politicians perceive, understand and value the transit issues in our city. But also, we need to how they plan to address those issues. To help voters, we at TransitCamp distributed a questionnaire to all candidates in the election about the important transit issues facing our city. We chose to ask four simple questions:
1. How often do you use Calgary Transit?
2a. What is the most pressing transit issue or need in your ward?(for candidates running for ward councillor only)
2b. What is the most pressing transit issue or need outside your ward?
3. What is your most innovative idea for improving transit in Calgary?
4. What is the role of transit in Calgary?
Over the next few days we are going to share the results of our poll, one question per day. You may also read these results published in the morning Metro paper, who is working with Transitcamp to share this information with voters (a huge thanks to Metro for helping us with this). We are not going to comment on the answers of any individual candidates, as we are leaving that to you, the voter. However, we are going to explain why we think each question is important, and why we chose to ask it.
(Note, we did not receive responses from all candidates, as we were unable to reach some candidates and some candidates did not provide responses by the October 1st deadline)
Our first question asked “How often do you use Calgary Transit?” This question isn’t designed to “out” those who don’t take transit, as we understand that transit cannot work for everyone (and we shouldn’t demand that it does!). The question highlights the importance of using transit in order to understand the needs and challenges of transit riders in our city. The question also gets candidates to think about why they don’t use transit, and what can be done so that it is more useful to more people. So, don’t judge a candidate just because they don’t use transit. The importance is that they understand the issues. Using transit is only one way to do that.
Here are the results (unedited and in random order):
How often do you use transit?
John Lord: I used to ride it everyday, but no longer work downtown. I still use it once in a while if I am going downtown, but it is less useful otherwise, except during Stampede.
Naheed Nenshi: As often as I can, but not as much as I would like, which irritates me to no end. I am a lifelong Calgary Transit user, relying on it exclusively for many years (I’m scared to calculate the total time on the 72/73 in my life). I rode the C-train to nomination day this year for a reason, as I wanted to highlight the centrality of transit to urban life.
Dan Larabie: I use it to get to special events, hockey games, concerts and downtown.
Judi Vandenbrink: I work from home and don’t need to travel daily by bus or car; however, I do take transit to the downtown core for events or appointments.
John Hilton-O’Brien: Daily. I make it my primary mode of transportation.
Chris Harper: Before the election I would use Calgary transit on a regular basis. For me, being able to work while on transit is a great convenience. I also enjoy the service transit operators provide. For example, the C-Train driver who always welcomes us to Downtown and shares the weather. During the election I take transit several times a week and use the “Harper” mobile the other days. In order to understand how to improve transit, I feel it is important to use it.
Ward Sutherland: I use Calgary Transit for sporting events, concerts and events that take place in the city centre. My 2 daughters use city transit for their daily commute to High School.
Bernie Dowhan: I am a regular user of Calgary Transit. I take the C-Train downtown to and from work. I have a monthly transit pass. I rarely take the bus.
Joe Magliocca: Although, I do not use Calgary Transit very often, my children do. As a father of 2 teenage girls this is a mode of transportation that is appreciated by our family.
Richard Poon: Rarely
Shawn Ripley: Several times a week.
Terry Wong: As my current activities are several trips across the Calgary, my rides on Calgary Transit are limited to 1-3 times a month if only to downtown, but always LRT if within downtown.
Jim Stevenson: My primary use of transit is between City Hall and meetings or functions downtown and in immediately surrounding areas. As often as possible, I walk to amenities in my neighbourhood. However, with the size of Ward 3 and council responsibilities that take me all over (and outside) Calgary, I also rely on a personal vehicle.
Blair Houston: I only use Transit a few times every month.
Gael Macleod: Unfortunately, I do not use transit as often as I would like. When possible, I ride to and from the downtown core, Stampede grounds, and the Sandstone bus loop. I have used the #300 to the airport and back, and I found it very convenient.
Michael Hartford: Due to a recent surgery I am not medically cleared to drive so I am completely dependent on Calgary Transit.
Ray Jones: Not very often maybe once or twice a year. The job requires a lot of travel; therefore we need our cars.
Joe Connelly: Varies greatly depending on what I am working on. Sometimes every day for a month, sometimes not at all for a month – so hard to be accurate. Certainly wouldn’t describe myself as a regular user.
Bob Bowles: I am not currently working downtown but, when elected, I plan to take the LRT down to City Hall most days.
Richard Pootmans: 4 days per week
Brent Alexander: Four times a week. I am primarily a pedestrian when going to work, but will hop on to the c-train to the old science world to lessen the 4 km walk home! Use the #1 and #305 less frequently though they provide much better service to my neighbourhood.
Druh Farrell: Daily during the week, and sometimes on weekends.
Joylin Nodwell: When I worked downtown, I took City Transit daily to and from the core. Since 2007, I have not used Transit regularly due to the location of my current job and having to drive two children to their respective schools. Our family does use the C-train when heading to special events such as Stampede.
Evan Woolley: Hi, I’m Evan Woolley and I’ve lived in Ward 8 for almost of my life. Transit has been essential for me to get around the Ward over the years, from taking the bus as a kid to play soccer in Killarney and Mardaloop, to riding the LRT to my jobs downtown in oil and gas and at the City Manager’s office. I use transit on a weekly basis and also walk and bike frequently.
Ian Newman: Usually about once a week. I work in construction so I commute via my work truck to my office in the NE, but I use the Ctrain and routes #2, #6,#7 quite regularly
John Mar: Regularly. Unless I know I have special meetings to attend outside of City Hall, like the Deerfoot Junction office which temporarily served as Council Chambers and still serves as Land and Asset Committee.
Gian-Carlo Carra: I use Calgary Transit a lot during the winter and I ride my bike and walk in the summer. The size and diversity of Ward 9, coupled with my desire to be out and about in my Ward, necessitates a lot of traveling around. If it suits my schedule and I don’t have to be in back-to-back meetings, I try to hop on a bus.
Jordan Katz: For special events downtown.
Nargis Dossa: Not as often as I should…
Andre Chabot: Once or twice per month
Wayne Frisch: Weekly, Bus from MRU to LRT Westbrook to downtown.
Brian Pincott: Not as often as I used to. For 10 years I was a daily user. Once I got onto Council my usage dropped off because of my schedule and having tightly scheduled meetings all over the city. Currently, I might use it 10 – 12 times a month.
James Maxim: Like many Calgarians, I use Calgary Transit for special events.
Shane Keating: I have taken transit on occasion to gain perspective on the experience. Transit currently is not accessible for everyone and is not a realistic option for every job.
Stephanie Kusie: Living in South East Calgary having a car is almost a necessity. I use Calgary transit from time-to-time to head downtown and for transportation to major events like the Stampede and concerts. Growing up in Lake Bonavista, I used the C-Train regularly, most notably to get to and from university and as a young professional working downtown. I now live across the river in McKenzie Towne and it differs significantly from the time when I could walk from my home to the Anderson station. I have spoken to residents in Ward 12 who feel incredibly isolated for this very reason. That is why securing funding for the South East LRT line is so critical and is my number one priority for Ward 12.
Adam Frisch: As often as possible if I am going to cultural events or downtown and back.
Diane Colley-Urquhart: 3-4 times a week
Scott Sorokoski: A few times a month in the winter
Peter Demong: My family uses Calgary Transit daily. I use Calgary Transit 1-2 times per week.
Shawn Kao: I work out of a home office and travel out of town for business so not too often. I try to take the C-Train if I am going downtown or to hockey or football games.